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An independent pollster in Russia has found that Russian citizens are much more likely to get out on the streets and protest government policies due to the current pension reform process that is underway. It seems this legislation has brought to the forefront the dissatisfaction Russians feel over declining economic conditions.
The economy has always been the soft underbelly of the Kremlin’s efforts to ‘make Russia great again’. The campaigns in Crimea, Donbass, and Syria have distracted attention for some time but now the overseas adventures have highlighted the lack of spending at home.
More Russians are willing to participate in economic and political protests now than in the past two decades, according to a new survey released by the independent Levada Center pollster.
Public discontent has spread throughout Russia this summer after the government announced plans to raise the retirement age. The United Russia ruling party saw its approval ratings plummet to seven-year lows, while trust in President Vladimir Putin has dropped to below 50 percent, despite the president’s efforts to distance himself from the unpopular reform.
Twenty-eight percent of Russians say they would personally participate in protests against falling standards of living — the highest such figure since 1999, according to the latest Levada poll published Wednesday. Only 8 percent of Russians said they were willing to protest in March 2018, before the government’s pension reform was announced.
Expectations that economic protests would occur in Russia have also skyrocketed, with 41 percent of respondents saying they were likely to happen in their city or town — the highest such number in two decades, wrote The Moscow Times.
“The respondents promise to protest but aren’t going out, while the government is not afraid but it also isn’t immune from having panic attacks,” Mikhail Vinogradov, a political analyst, was cited by the Vedomosti newspaper as saying.
With civil unrest raging in Iran, Russia’s ally in the Middle East, no doubt the Kremlin has been keeping watch. Although Putin’s numbers are down, in no way does the Russian situation match the anger against the regime in Tehran, as Russian’s are loath to face another revolution, although they did get used to the wealthy lifestyle under Putin’s $100 oil heyday.